Cut Down On The Cost Of Youth Sports
Participation costs in youth sports are growing yearly, especially at the elite level.
From equipment expenses to pay-to-play fees to uniforms to travel costs – the overall cost of youth sports participation can add up quickly.
How can you keep your spending under control?
Stick To One Sport Per Season
More isn’t always better. Young athletes can suffer from overuse injuries or become exhausted from constantly participating in multiple sports year-round.
Limiting the athlete to one sport per season will not only cut down on the time spent at practices and games, but will also cut down on the financial investment as well.
Stick To A Budget
Competitive travel teams might be headed across the country to compete this season – and your wallet needs to be prepared.
Start planning ahead each season to estimate how many additional costs will be thrown at you so there aren’t any surprises. Account for airfare, hotels, and any other major expenses you might encounter.
The savviest of parents can even plan ahead for smaller variable costs, like purchasing equipment. Just like regular retail stores shift gears during each season, sporting good stores also rotate their seasonal sports equipment. Shopping months in advance for end-of-season deals can save on equipment costs.
Adjust Your Budget Based On The Athlete’s Age
According to Mark Hyman, author of “The Most Expensive Game in Town“, money spent on sports for children under the age of three is not beneficial. Although an array of DVDs, leagues, and gym training that target this young demographic exist, experts have found that these items do not give children a competitive edge.
As children get older, think twice about the amount being spent on their gear. Before spending hundreds of dollars on one piece of equipment keep in mind that next season you might be on the market again for a larger model.
According to the National Council on Youth Sports, one of the best ways to save money while participating in youth sports is to choose a location that is convenient for the family. Sticking with local, recreational sports when possible can help keep the cost of sports low.
Look For Used Equipment
Equipment fees are one of the biggest financial factors for sports. Rather than spend a fortune on top-of-the-line, expensive equipment for young athletes who are likely to outgrow it in a year, consider purchasing used sports equipment.
Used sporting goods stores sell gently used sporting equipment for easily half the cost of brand new gear. Since most of the merchandise has been sold to the store by other youth athletes who are also growing quickly, some of the equipment for sale has only seen one season of play.
The buying and selling of equipment goes both ways. Trading in used and outgrown gear to used sporting goods stores or selling online at sites like Craigslist or eBay can help raise funds for next season’s expenses.
Stick To Water
Hydrating properly is essential before, during, and after exercise. But for most of us, sports drinks aren’t necessary. During a normal workout, the body typically doesn’t lose a large enough number of electrolytes to require the assistance of sports drinks to replenish them.
Avoid spending money on sports drinks and energy drinks and stick to water!
Have an opinion to share? Add your thoughts below and let us know how you plan to cut down on the cost of sports next season.